Caring for two sets of aging parents.

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We have all four .our parents age 90,87,85,84 My parents were alot of care and were not in a safe place or situation. My dad fell and this help to make the decision to go into assisted living and it is working very well. Now we have more time to do fun things with them. My husband parents are needing alot of care, his father is falling alot and has dementia and depression. They refuss to go to assisted living and exspect my husband to care for them, he is their assisted living and he fills that is what he should do.Our relationship has suffered because of it. I have resentment and try to be understanding, but also feel it is unfair the responiblity they put on him. Some days I feel that I am at the bottom of his list. I feel guilt for feeling this way. I know it is alot. on his shoulder and I should not feel is way. We are both retired but can't enjoy it. Comments would be helpful. I can't talk to my husband he becomes defensive.


First of all, maybe some of the resentment you feel for your husband is because the two of you thought it was a good idea for YOUR parents to go into asst living, but not his? Why was it good enough for YOUR parents but not HIS? If that's what you're thinking, then I get it. But as you well know no two people think exactly the same, so his parents aren't thinking the same or as yours and/or not as agreeable as you would hope. That is NOT your husband's fault. He probably wants them in asst living as bad as you do, but what do you do when a parents refuses? So please don't become an enemy to him in his life, you need to pull together during this. Tell him how much you love him, (I'm assuming you still do right?) But then confess that you thought it would be different during your retirement years by getting to spend more time together. Tell him that you thought his parents would be willing to go into asst living too since your folks did, and that's why you've been a little bratty to him. Tell him you're sorry. (and MEAN it) That is going to make his defenses drop then you can find out exactly what he's thinking. If he indeed wants them into asst living, then put your heads together and figure out how to make it happen. If he doesn't think that will ever happen, then put your heads together and figure that out too. You've gotta spend time together just the two of you also Once a week would be great if you can manage a 'date night' away from the parents. You can do this, they can't live forever right?
It sounds like you need to talk to your husband, whether he gets defensive or not. It will help if you can mange not to sound accusing. Naheaton has some good suggestions. Another posibility is to talk to him in the presence of a third party -- to seek counselling.

Dementia is progressive. FIL will get worse and worse and need more and more care. Most dementia patients eventually need placement. At some point he will need more than assisted living. This is something you both need to factor into the discussion. If at all possible, consult with FIL's physician to learn the prognossis for his particular disease.

This is not easy at all. My heart goes out to all of you.
thank you for your comments. I am trying very hard to be understanding. My husband is so set on caring for his parents. His borther suggested they should go to assisted living , because he lives so far from them and can.t help and my husband now will not talk to him. I think I just have to find other think to do to get thur this ,because this isn,t for ever. I do pretty good to keep my feeling to myself. Anything else just makes him defective. Your comments helped.
Your husband did what most of our generation did: promise that our parents would never go to an "institution." Your hub has to remember that, back then, most parents were cared for at home by the "women folk" who did not work outside the home. So, now, they are expecting that kind of care. Unfortunately, all too many of us are "sandwiched" in with jobs, caring for parents, children, spouses, and even grandchildren. Times have changed.
The good news is that there are so many good alternatives for elder care that did not exist back then. Maybe your husband should look at the ALFs in your area and talk to the people there. He could see how nice many of them are. If they care for his parent's day-to-day needs, then you two can go back to being the loving children who do everything else for them.
I fear that your resentment plus his unwillingness to budge is going to have a negative effect on your relationship and plans for the future. His heart is in the right place because he loves and wants to care for his parents, but, unless he has a medical background, he will not be able to care for all the needs of his parents as they age. It is better to get them settled in and used a new environment now before it gets too late.
Your husband is not speaking to his brother because he dared to suggest a different way to care for their parents? You can't talk to him without him getting defensive? Whooaa. There is something very wrong here. You feel like you are on the bottom of his list because you are at the bottom of his list. You think you need to stuff your feelings because otherwise he gets defensive. And you are willing to live this way for another 1 or 2 or 5 or 8 years? I don't mean can you live with your FIL for that long -- I mean can you live with stuffing your feelings and tiptoeing around certain subjects and always coming in second to his parents? Believe me, juniper, caring for someone with dementia is challenging enough all on its own, doing it while a marriage disintegrates is off the charts tough.

Whether you provide in-home care for your in-laws or help them to find a suitable placement, your marriage sounds like it needs some work. Joint counseling sounds like a good idea. Go alone if hubby refuses. This is a very stressful situation for all concerned. You deserve an objective, caring professional to help you with the stress.

Good luck!
thank you for your input. I went to a counselor but she was not to helpful. I did talk to our family Dr. and he and my father-in-laws Dr. said they need to be in assisted living. The one problem is that my husband responds to everyone of their needs so as long as he does that they don.t think they need anyother help. His father falls alot and his mother just calls my husband and he goes running. Our Dr. said the bad thing is one will fall and end up in a nursing home and the other in assist living and separeted. I go visit my parents in their assisted living and they are doing real well. They have some social life and we do fun things with them. They are aging, but knowing they are safe is a good feeling. I try to help my husband to see this. For most of our married life his parents have made us they social life and my husband would just feed this.He knows it is happening ,but just can,t say no. I feel there isn,t to much chance to change this. I love his parents , but some times it is tough. I have somes good friends i can vent to. Your comments are helpful thank you.
I hope what happened to me, will happen to your hub. After years of dashing out to help my Mom with EVERY need, I burned out. It took that long for me to figure out that: 1) I was not superwoman, 2) I could not prevent my Mom from aging or becoming ill, 3) I was neglecting my life because she expected me to be there...always 4) my life, needs, and health are just important as hers. Not even paid caregivers, who do this for a living, are around their clients 24/7 or they would burn out too.
I don't know if there is anything more you can do if the hub is operating under guilt or unreasonable obligation. Everyone is responsible for their own happiness and social lives. Perhaps your hub could limit his visits to 2 times a week at first. Let them know that these are "their days" and they can ask do do anything they want or need. The rest of the week is yours and your hub has to respect that. If they need more care, hire an in-home caregiver to come by 2-3 times a week. They will not like it, because they are used to their son, but it will be helpful for the future if they get used to others caring for them.
Sounds like your hub recognizes that he needs to it is a matter of putting it into practice...the hardest part. Seek counseling together or ask for an impartial third party to speak with him. Trust me, this thing can get out of hand really fast.
good luck
thank you for the input. When my parents went into assisted living my sister and I were there everyday. I realized that wasn,t good. It was not helping them ajust. Now i go only 1 or 2 days aweek. and they have ajusted well. I know my husband knows that is what he needs to do but just has a hard time with it. I guess I have to be patient.The thing that is going to happen is one of them is going to fall and break bones. His mother is showing the stress of caring for her husband. I just have to stay out of it, because thay are all in denial. Knowing there is someone else has gone thur it and survived. Thank you

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